Matt Fuchs’ Chevelle Is Always A Work In Progress

Matt Fuchs started from scratch with the intent to build this ’70 Chevelle SS into as much of a killer doorslammer as he ultimately could. That meant what started out as a bare shell would ultimately turn into this low 8-second show piece through many reincarnations over the years.

“I bought my starting point in 1993 from a guy who was scavenging this Chevelle for parts to do another car,” Matt remembers. “It was just a shell at that moment. I liked the looks of the car so I bought it. I put it together and raced it from 1993 to 2001. This initial version saw the Chevelle as a back-half car. It performed its best in this version with a 9.83-second pass at 135 mph.”

Once he raced with that combination for awhile, he got the itch to go faster and the second version of the car was soon underway.

Matt's original 540 big big block Chevy had been ultimately been replaced by a 598c.i. tall deck engine. This was also the motivating factor for the Chevelle to go through another transformation into a complete tube chassis car.

“At that point, I took it apart and put a full chromoly chassis in it, and completed that version of the Chevelle at the end of 2003,” Matt describes. “When the back-half version of the car got a 540-inch big-block Chevy, it needed a better chassis to put this increased power to the track.”

It was one of those deals where we started to discuss changing the front suspension when we realized we needed to make some serious changes to the rear of the car, as well. We decided it was time for a complete chromoly chassis instead of doing a little here and a little there.

The new chassis with SFI 6.0 certification was built by Chuck Burkhardt at Burkhardt Chassis in Harristown, Illinois. They utilized Strange Engineering struts in the front. “In the rear, we have a fabricated nine-inch Ford rear housing with 4-link suspension using Afco double adjustable shocks,” Matt says. “A Strange Engineering center section has a Strange 4:30 ring and pinion on a Moser Engineering 35-spline spool and axle combination.”

Matt used a Glasstek fiberglass front end, hood, doors, deck lid and rear bumper, leaving the original steel roof and rear quarters intact. The hood is outfitted with a four-inch cowl induction scoop for clearance while allowing Matt to easily eye the christmas tree.

Mitch Warrington at Auto Body MD in Auburn, Illinois laid on the Ford “Sapphire Blue” color paint work. The color has kind of become Matt’s trademark for the Chevelle over the years. “The original version of the Ford purple paint was done by a friend of mine in the garage,” he remembers. “He did a heck of a job. He was one of those guys who had fun messing with stuff he shouldn’t have been messing with.”

Matt is looking to compete with the Midwest Top Sportsman Organization when he makes a few more upgrades. Though the Chevelle can currently run in the 8.20's on the quarter-mile, he is building a new 632 cubic-inch engine combination to take him to yet another level.

The interior is all aluminum panels fabricated by Burkhardt as well. Other interior hardware includes a fiberglass seat, Autometer instruments in the fiberglass dashboard, and a Grant steering wheel. On the safety side, he uses Simpson belts, a Sparco firesuit and Bell helmet to keep him safe in the seat.

In the current power plant department, the first 540 has been ultimately replaced by a 598c.i. tall deck big big block Chevy with Dart 355 heads, Jesel shaft rockers and belt drive. The rotating assembly consists of  JE Pistons with 15:1 compression, Callies crank and rods, an Edelbrock Super Victor SV632 intake manifold, and a Ken Jones-built alcohol carburetor. Matt is running Renegade Racing Fuel Pro Methanol in the tank.

If it's not raw aluminum panels, it is coated in Matt's trademark purple colorway for the paintwork. His local friend, Bob Gibson, added a custom air-brushed grill and headlights to complete the look.

The Chevelle is equipped with an Afco Racing radiator and Meziere Enterprises water pump for cooling duties. Also up front in the engine bay is a Moroso Performance Products oil accumulator, Aerospace Components vacuum pump system, and a 5-gallon fuel cell that feeds a Product Engineering 4400 fuel pump and regulator system.

“We use a Powerglide with Reid case and 1.80 straight-cut gears built by Ken Jones, as well. An Abruzzi nine-inch, 6200 rpm stall torque converter is mated to the Powerglide along with a Hurst shifter,” Matt says. “We also have a chromoly 3.5-inch driveshaft in place.”

To provide voltage to the necessary components, Matt chose a 16-volt XS Power battery. All the components on the car are operating on 16-volts with no step-down system. MSD Performance Products makes up the ignition system with a 7AL-2 Plus Ignition Control, crank trigger, and distributor.

The Chevelle is outfitted with Hoosier 33x16x15 slicks mounted to Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels.

For 2018, Matt had plans to add a nitrous plate and is going to compete in some Top Sportsman competition for the first time — but there’s a hitch. “My friends have talked me into giving Top Sportsman a whirl,” he says. “Right now, though, I’m working on a new 632 cubic-inch engine for next season before we step into that game.”

Matt does want to specifically thank Ken Jones for the carburetor and transmission service, as well as Chuck Burkhardt for building the chassis.

A Strange Engineering master cylinder and front brakes are mated to the Strange front struts. These are combined with Aerospace Components rear brakes. Matt says, "The car really stops on a dime with that combination."

So far, the Chevelle has run a 5.19 at 133 mph in the eighth-mile and 8.20 at 165 mph in the quarter-mile, but Matt is ready to better those numbers. “I’m pretty happy with the way the car is,” he says. “Someday, I’d like to go faster — you always want to go faster, but I want to get used to a little bit of the spray before I go crazy.”

Progress has varied from small steps to big updates, but we’re pretty sure that Matt and his Chevelle have not seen the last version or his latest personal best in the time-slip department outdone.

About the author

Todd Silvey

Todd has been a hardcore drag racing journalist since 1987. He is constantly on both sides of the guardwall from racing photography and editorship to drag racing cars of every shape and class.
Read My Articles

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